NYC Union Election Provides Something New and More of the Same

If you want deep analysis of the voting results in the United Federation of Teachers election in New York City, I highly recommend heading over to Norm Scott’s Ed Notes Online. The upshot is that Michael Mulgrew and his Unity Caucus slate captured 76 percent of the vote, with the opposition MORE/New Action slate taking the bulk of the remainder and winning some seats on the UFT executive board.

Mulgrew’s winning percentage keeps dropping in every election, but at this rate he won’t get ousted until 2028. And you can’t analyze union elections properly without mentioning turnout. It’s historically bad, and it wasn’t good this time, either.

Organized opposition within unions is a healthy phenomenon, regardless of what they espouse. But low turnouts are an implicit endorsement of the services model. As long as teachers are getting collective bargaining services, they don’t seem to care much who runs the union. Movement unionists can win elections without motivating the apathetic, but they will never achieve their socio-political goals without energizing those non-voters.